Kadampa Teachings

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Root Institute, Bodhgaya (Archive #1404 1470 1588 1683 1677)

In this book Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains how to practice Dharma the way the famous Kadampa geshes did. These lamas were exemplary practitioners of Buddhism in Tibet, renowned for their extreme asceticism and uncompromising practice of thought transformation in order to develop bodhicitta. As ever, Rinpoche covers a vast amount of ground, teaching on many other topics as well.

Appendix 1: Mind Training Removing Obstacles

Homage to the greatly compassionate spiritual teachers!

[The instruction on] dispelling the obstacles of Mahayana mind training is, it has been taught, (1) to accept ill omens as charms, (2) to exterminate Mara at its very source, (3) to bring obstacles onto the path, and (4) to cap your least useful desires.

1. First, [accepting all ill omens as charms] is as follows: When worldly people encounter bad omens, such as hearing owls crying or foxes howling [at night], they consult astrology, make divinations, and have rituals performed. You, on the other hand, should eagerly embrace ill omens and negative signs when they appear by cultivating the thought “Since it is self-grasping that causes me to suffer, may all the suffering that exists in the world arising from the fear of encountering ill omens befall upon this self. May this help vanquish the self-grasping.”

2. Second, [exterminating Mara at its very source] is as follows: It is taught that self-grasping causes us to suffer. So when you experience pain or injury to your bodies, caused either by humans or nonhumans, you should think, “It is this [body] that causes me to undergo suffering.

If you desire it, take it away this very instant. O king of demons residing above, take away my head! Great indeed is your kindness in causing all the harms to it. Since you are my ally in subduing the [true] enemy, and my ally in subduing Mara, help me exterminate the very continuum of worldly gods, humans, and ghosts, and help me to vanquish [this] demon to the best of my ability.” Cut [selfgrasping] from its root with the thought “It is not inconsistent to relish doing so.”

3. Third, [bringing obstacles onto the path] is as follows: Whatever unhelpful events, such as physical ailments, mental anxieties, and so on, occur, or when adversities affl ict you, contemplate, “This is due to my own self-grasping. If today I do not discard this self-grasping, obstacles will continue to arise. So may all the adversities in the world and those feared to come be realized upon me. May this help subdue the self and utterly destroy it.” Contemplating thus, bring them onto the path.

4. Fourth, [capping one’s desires that are least useful] is as follows: “What benefit has this brought me, if any? It has never made me go farther away from cyclic existence, so it must be destroyed [today]. Then, at least, I will have derived some purpose from its utter lack of usefulness. [If I achieve this,] it will be due to my teacher’s blessing; it will be owing to his kindness. Pray help me so that in the future, too, I can gather upon this [self-grasping] everything that has no usefulness and vanquish them by subjugating them.” Contemplating in this way, cap your least useful desires.

From Mind Training: The Great Collection, pp. 239–40.